Today is Valentine’s Day. It’s a day for love, for flowers, for chocolate, and… for revenge.
Okay, probably not so much that last one, but isn’t revenge so much more fun than the mushy stuff? At least in the fictional world?
On this day, Valentine’s Day, it is my sincerest pleasure to welcome my friend and fellow author, Miracle Austin, to my blog! After being featured in several horror anthologies, Miracle is celebrating the release of her first full-length novel, DOLL.
I read this book in one sitting, and you can find my reviews on GoodReads.com AND Amazon.com. For now, however, please enjoy my interview with
Jacqueline Smith: First of all, tell me a little bit about yourself:
Miracle Austin: I work in the social work world by day and the writer’s world at night and weekends. I’m a YA/NA Cross-Genre author; adults also enjoy my works.
I’ve been writing ever since first hearing Drive by The Cars in junior high, which has been one of her biggest inspirations. I rediscovered my writing passion, recently. My first mini-story, PENS, appeared in http://www.leaves-of-ink.com.
Horror/suspense are my favorite genres, but not limited to. I enjoy writing diverse flashes, short stories, and longer works, while threading various social awareness themes into my stories, at times.
Doll will be my first debut YA/NA Paranormal novel, which will be released on CreateSpace and Amazon on 2-14-16—available both in paperback and ebook.
Boundless will be my second debut work, which will be a YA/NA eclectic short story collection; it will release in the summer.
I’m currently working on future works and reside in Texas with my family.
JS: How did you get into writing?
MA: I started writing in the sixth grade, mostly free-verse poems, and writing out lyrics of my favorite songs, usually love songs, in a notebook.
I did write my first short story about a 13-year-old boy. His name was Jobie. Jobie was spending his last summer with his best friend, kissing a girl for the first time, and coping with his untimely death.
I hand wrote that story and don’t recall the title. I thought I kept it, but I must have thrown it away years ago, accidentally. I still think of the character, Jobie, time from time.
As high school approached, my writing was stop and go. An English teacher shared a writing assignment, and I really enjoyed that assignment. However, distractions popped up, as usual.
I wrote off and on in college. I really enjoyed my English, sociology, and children’s literature classes because I always had writing assignments in.
Later on in my adult life, I experienced a very dark time and found myself almost lost there.
I stumbled upon a private writing group with diverse writing prompts.
I started submitting and discovered something—how much I really loved writing. In fact, writing, this time around, actually saved me… I found a ladder and began to climb out of my darkness.
A reviewer on the writing group commented me on my writing and suggested I should start to submit to magazines, ezines, anthologies, and etc.
I was hesitant, but I decided to give it a try, after a few months. I submitted and received so many rejections. I almost gave up, until that one day, I had a message waiting in my email box, where my first mini-story was accepted.
My confidence began to blossom. I continued to submit and receive more rejections than acceptances. The rejections made me stronger and the rest is herstory.
JS: What is your favorite book? Or if you can’t pick just one (I know I can’t), top three?
MA: I’m going to list more than three.
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Carrie by Stephen King
To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee
“The Man Who Loved Flowers” Short Story by Stephen King
“The Last Rung” Short Story by Stephen King
JS: Tell me about your new book, Doll.
MA: Doll is a YA/NA paranormal novel. Doll was never suppose to be a novel, only a short story for adults. I started writing it to distract me from the postponed publishing of my first collection, Boundless.
Doll transformed. It started out as 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, 12,000, 15,000, 18,000, 20,000, 25,000, 30,000, 45,000, and then over 52,000 words.
The characters took over and Doll was created.
Doll is a story about a mean girl who torments three outcasts, one in particular.
The three outcasts decide to band together in an untraditional way to give the mean girl a taste of her own medicine. However, things don’t always turn out the way wish, so be careful what you wish for…
JS: How did you come up with the idea?
MA: My mom, who has shared other ideas with me for other stories and future ones, told me a story about something that happened years ago with a friend. I absorbed all the information and created my characters.
I recall a publisher, several months ago, sharing how Boundless was geared more towards YA/NA crowd, plus I love the YA/NA world, so I changed my main adult characters to teens.
JS: What was the writing process like?
MA: This is interesting one.
I procrastinated with this one. Believe it or not, I had about one paragraph for the concept, which changed a lot. I even had the cover made before I had one full page written. The cover did inspire me.
I knew that I needed to complete it after I avoided writing for several weeks because I didn’t know where I was going with this story, even though I had the concept down and cover. I just was so unmotivated.
Therefore, I decided to do something that I never had before—outline. I’ve read about others completing outlines, but I’ve always been a free bird and didn’t want to restrict myself.
I came to realize that was the best thing I could have ever done without restrictions. The outline ushered me through my writing and kept me focused.
So, I’m now an outline advocate, never would have imagined.
JS: You are also featured in horror anthologies such as Luna’s Children and A Shadow of Autumn. What inspires you?
MA: Again, I must give my mom credit for many of my current and future stories. She’s my inspiration. She’s always sharing stories about her youth from the 50s and her adulthood. I usually take something from her stories and twist it up to make it my own.
Furthermore, my other inspirations come from conversations (protected of course), people watching, songs, movies, or something that I’ve read in a book, magazine, Facebook, newspaper, and so on.
JS: What draws you to this genre?
MA: My exposure to horror/suspense arenas occurred prior my middle school years. My mom used to listen to an AM radio station on Friday nights, cannot recall the station, but it would have pre-recorded creepy stories.
I was sold instantly and couldn’t wait until the next airing. Horror/suspense just meshed with me from my first dance with it. I craved it, minus the horror that deals with possession.
JS: Are you working on any other projects at the moment?
MA: I sure am. I am cleaning up Boundless, an eclectic collection of shorts, which was supposed to be published by now. However, I’m a big believer in how certain things must occur before something else, which is why Boundless was postponed.
I still don’t understand it completely, but I accept Doll being released first.
I’m enhancing Boundless and then all the edit rounds.
I’m waiting to see how Doll is received from readers.
I do have a sequel mini outline for Doll 2 already, not sure if it will evolve yet.
I have another story (20,000 words so far) that’s been on back burner for almost two years called, LoneStar Unordinary Girl. It’s a mash-up of comedy/supernatural elements. A reviewer challenged me to add comedy to a piece and I came up with that one.
Finally, I love writing shorts all the time. I have one that I have been wanting to write called Nightrunners. I plan to soon.
I am currently working on a monster piece for consideration in Sirens Call, a fabulous ezine.
Sine I mentioned Sirens Call, I wanted to share that I’ll be featured with many other amazing women authors in their Women in Horror Month 2016 upcoming issue. My piece is called “The Lock.”
JS: What are your favorite pastimes, other than writing?
MA: I love attending all types of movies (Marvel/DC Fangirl, by the way) and watching Netflix.
I enjoy creating playlists that inspire some of my stories and enjoy attending diverse book festivals and comic cons, where I’ve been so honored to be one of the panelists on some.
I’ll be a featured author and a panelist at the upcoming Teen Book Fest by the Bay in Corpus Christie, Texas on 2-20-16. I’m so honored and excited to be part of. This will be my first teen book festival.
The highlights of attending the above functions include opportunities to hang out with great author friends and meet new authors/readers.
I also enjoy collaborating with my amazing colleagues on YAAR (Young Adult Author Rendezvous) , an author group, on Facebook. I’ve learned a lot from some amazing authors and the founder, Patrick Hodges. They have all been so helpful in various ways.
JS: Finally, where can read readers connect with you?
MA: Feel free to contact me anytime and follow me on all the social media outlets.
I enjoy communicating with her readers.
FaceBook: Miracle Austin Author
Songs that inspired DOLL
#1 You look beautiful tonight-Frank Sinatra
#2 One way or another-Blondie
# 3 Rock with you-Michael Jackson
#4 Every Breath You Take-Chase Holfelder
#5 One Way or Another—Until the ribbon breaks
# 6 Ready to love you forever-Tevin Campbell
#7 I want you to want me-Cheap Trick
#8 Leave-Jo Jo
#9 Count me Out-New Edition
#10 You Belong to me-Taylor Swift
#11 Rich Girl-Hall and Oates
#12 Make me wanna-Thomas Rhett
#13 Going to love you like I’m going to loose you–John Legend and Megan Trainor
#14 Jack and Diane-John Cougar
#15 Kissing Game- Hi-5
#16 Naughty Girl-Beyoncé
#17-All of me-Luciana Zogbi—(cover)
#18-You can do Magic-America
#19-Oh no-Lionel Richie
#21-Bad blood-Taylor Swift
#22-Tender Roni-Bobby Brown
#23-If it isn’t Love-New Edition
#24-Walking after Midnight-Patsy Cline
#27-My baby doll-Toni, Toni, Tone
#28-She’s like the wind-Patrick Swayze
#31-Everybody Hurts Sometimes-REM
#32-People are People-Depeche Mode
#33-Shake it off-Taylor Swift
#34-Wanna be starting something-Michael Jackson
#35-Walking in my shoes-Depeche Mode
#37-When I’m with you-Tony Terry
#38-Give Love a bad name-Bon Jovi
#39-We’re not going to take it-Twisted Sister
#40-Waiting for a girl like you-Foreigner
#41-Girl Crush-Little Big Town
#42-I need to know-Marc Anthony
#43-How do you mend a broken heart-Al Green
#45-Try a little Tenderness-Otis Redding
#46-what about your friends-TLC
#47-All of me-Damien Escobar
#48-With You-Chris Brown
You can find DOLL by Miracle Austin here!